Best Food Processor 2021
The Cuisinart Elite Collection 2.0 12-cup food processor is a full featured food processor with four different blades and disks. It includes a smaller 4-cup bowl, which would be perfect for pureeing smaller amounts of food for baby. Just pull out your veggie steamer basket and a pot, steam your preferred veggies then pop them in the Cuisinart. Ta-dah! you’ve got pureed baby food.
Some fruits are soft enough that you won’t need to cook them first (we’re looking at you, bananas). And you can vary the consistency easily by hitting the pulse button a few time for chunks. But the beauty of buying a traditional food processor (rather than a baby food steamer/processor) is you can use it for so much more around the kitchen: pie crust, bread dough, chopping nuts, grating cheese and more.
You may have noticed that there are several “baby food steamer/processors” for sale in cooking stores and online. For the most part, these combo appliances are rather disappointing and don’t rate very well with parents. However, we know some folks are still tempted to buy one—so below, we have a our recommendation for the best of these steamer/processors as well as the best manual food mill.
New to shopping for food processors, food mills and steamer/processors? Read our 7 Things No One Tells You About Buying a Food Processor below for advice and tips.
Why Trust Us
We’ve been rating and reviewing food processors since 2005. In addition to hands on testing of food processors, we have combed published research about reliability, cleanability and efficiency. We also evaluate consumer reviews posted online as well as our own message boards.
Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Baby Bargains is your independent and unbiased source for expert baby gear reviews. We’ve been writing and reviewing baby gear since 1994. Yes, that long!
How we picked a winner
We evaluate food processors with in-depth inspections, checking models for overall quality and ease of use—for example, pureeing and chunking different types of fruit and vegetables. We also gather significant reader feedback (our book, Baby Bargains has over 1 million copies in print), tracking food processors on quality and durability. Besides interviewing parents, we also regularly talk with retailers and consumer appliance experts to see which brands are most trustworthy and other key quality metrics.
7 Things No One Tells You About Buying A Food Processor!
1. To figure out the best food processor for your family, decide how much food you want to make.
If you’re planning to freeze a month’s worth of carrots for your little one, consider a regular food processor. You’ll be able to puree from 12 to 20 cups of baby food in a full size processor. Some models have smaller bowls that can be used for fewer servings. If you’re only interested in a few day’s worth of food, the two to four-cup capacity processors will work just fine. And if a single meal is all you need, consider an affordable manual food mill.
2. Consider the size of your kitchen.
Do you have room for another appliance on your counter? If you already have a food processor, don’t add to the clutter and expense with a specialty baby food processor. If you have limited counter space and don’t already have a processor, here’s where a steamer/processor might make more sense. The capacity is small and most steamer/processors aren’t as well made as a heavy duty food processor, but one might do the trick and save some space.
3. If possible, go large.
If you have the money, you’ll find that larger processors are useful for other cooking needs. We make pie crust, puree sauces, mix bread dough and more in our Cuisinart. And it will last for years. But if price is a consideration, hand-crank food mills are more affordable and will do the job for the small amount of time you’ll be making baby food puree.
4. Baby only eats pureed foods for a short period of time.
Babies only eat pureed and chunky foods for about six months or so. After that, your baby (around one year of age) can eat regular adult table food (cut into smaller bites, of course). Hence the utility of a specialized baby food processor is limited; a regular food processor will give you more bang for the buck since it can blend, chop and grind things like pastry dough, nuts and cheese.
5. Good news: food processors should last a long time.
Most high end food processor are meant to be workhorses. So if you’re buying a food processor to use for more than baby food, spend the money to get good quality. This means a heavy base with a strong motor. We’d stay away from some of the “baby food” processors. They don’t have the same high quality motor and rugged construction.
6. Combination products don’t always work out.
Steamer/processors are like a lot of combination products. Most of them don’t really do multiple tasks well. In fact, occasionally they simply stop doing one or both of the tasks, based on our research. Cuisinart, for example, makes a baby food steamer/processor. But the reviews are rather unimpressive, mainly because the steamer sometimes stops working. That’s why our top pick is a processor-only appliance.
7. You really don’t need lots of extra blades or attachments.
Basically, you’ll be able to do almost anything with the main blade plus the shredding and slicing disks. Yes, some processors have extra blades and attachments that sound cool. But do you really need a french fry cutting disk? Or a special storage box? Stick with the basics and you’ll be just fine.